You won't believe how easy and good it is. Try this and you may never be able to eat a shrimp soup in a Thai restaurant again. This is a blend of two recipes from a really good Thai cookbook, adapted to use easier-to-find ingredients (as recommended in the book, ginger instead of galangal, lime juice instead of lime leaves) and simplified a little. You can make it also with thinly sliced chicken breast instead of shrimp if you add the chicken about the time you add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook everything for a bit longer.
- Cut off the dry end and a few top leaves of the lemongrass stem.
- Bruise the stem with the handle of a knife and cut into 1-inch long pieces.
- Bruise the chilies, cut them in half, scoop out and discard the seeds.
- Reserve the chilies.
- Bring the water to boil.
- Add lemongrass and ginger, and squeeze out half the lime into the water.
- Boil 2-3 minutes.
- Add fish sauce and chili-garlic paste.
- Cook for another minute.
- Add tomatoes and mushrooms.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes (or longer, until it boils and the tomatoes start to fall apart).
- Squeeze the other half of the lime into the soup.
- Take off the heat.
- Add the chilies and let stand a few seconds, then add the shrimp.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.
- Leave lemongrass, ginger and chilies in the soup and either try to pour the soup without them, or, better, pour the soup with chunks of lemongrass and ginger in it and warn your guests not to eat these.
- They do add flavour when left in the soup while you eat it.